Is Your Child Care Provider Designated as Breastfeeding Friendly?
By Lucie Maguire Kramer, MS, RDN, LDN
The South Carolina Program for Infant and Toddler Care offers a statewide Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care designation program. This program is funded by the SC Department of Social Services and is free for licensed child care providers.
Breastfeeding Support in the Hospital
South Carolina is making important strides to improve breastfeeding rates, especially during prenatal and post-partum care. Many families are delivering their babies at Baby Friendly hospitals in SC and are discharged with a great deal of information supporting the choice to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding Support When Mom Goes Back to Work
Once moms leave the Baby Friendly hospital environment, they still need support in their breastfeeding goals. Supporting moms and babies in breastfeeding improves the health of mothers and babies in South Carolina.
A critical time during breastfeeding comes when a mother places her child with a child care program. Moms are faced with the challenges of pumping at work and supplying the child care provider with bottles of expressed breastmilk. Sometimes employers are not supportive of employees expressing breastmilk even though it is protected by law. Sometimes the child care provider may give the impression the breastmilk is less favorable than formula or that the mom isn't providing enough milk.
In an effort to support moms with meeting their breastfeeding goals at this critical time, the Breastfeeding Friendly designation provides programs and teachers with breastfeeding information and ways to support breastfeeding families. The training and subsequent application process covers topics including:
- health benefits of breastfeeding for babies, moms, and the child care program;
- feeding cues and frequency; and
- supportive practices that help moms reach their goals.
The Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care designation is governed by 10 Steps, and each step has criteria that must be met to be awarded the designation.
- Step 1. Create a policy stating the importance of breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding, and share this commitment with fellow staff.
- Step 2. Train staff in the skills to support and promote optimal infant and young child feeding.
- Step 3. Inform women and families about the importance of breastfeeding.
- Step 4. Provide learning and play opportunities that normalize breastfeeding for children.
- Step 5. Ensure that all families are able to properly store and label milk for child care program use.
- Step 6. Provide a breastfeeding friendly environment.
- Step 7. Support breastfeeding employees.
- Step 8. Ensure that each infant has a feeding plan that supports best feeding practices.
- Step 9. Contact and coordinate with local skilled breastfeeding support and actively refer moms in need.
- Step 10. Continue to learn about the protection, promotion, and support of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Designees
Many providers across South Carolina have received their Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care Designation and many more are in the process of being designated. Being designated as breastfeeding friendly benefits programs because it leads to better daily attendance of children and staff, healthier children, higher parent satisfaction and public recognition on the SC Program for Infant and Toddler Care website (SCPITC.org). Encourage your child care provider to pursue designation and to support breastfeeding moms by having them contact us.
Visit abcquality.org to learn more about child development, search for a child care provider, or learn about the state’s voluntary quality rating system. ABC Quality is a program administered by the SC Department of Social Services’ Division of Early Care and Education.
Lucie Maguire Kramer is a Registered Dietitian with a special interest in infant, child and family nutrition. She is a Program Coordinator for SCPITC at the Boeing Center for Children's Wellness where she coordinates the Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care designation for South Carolina.
By Lucie Maguire Kramer MS RDN LDN at 15 Aug 2017, 11:00 AM